Written by By Jillian Sisco and Jackson Englert
Photos via @laufey on Instagram
Laufey Lín Jónsdóttir, professionally known as Laufey (pronounced Lay-vey), is an Icelandic-Chinese singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who is at the center of a modern-day jazz resurgence. Recently, she has quickly become a sensation due to her songs “Falling Behind” and “From the Start” trending on TikTok with millions of posts using her songs. With her unique yet nostalgic blend of classical, jazz, and pop elements, it is extremely rare to see an artist like her pushing through to a mainstream media that is hyper focused on genres like hip-hop, country, and electronic pop. Having idols like Taylor Swift, who like her, have transformed, and introduced a whole genre to a wide range of people, has also helped her gain more footing in the public eye.
Though her start in the industry was recent, Laufey has a deep history with music dating back to when she was four years old and taking piano lessons with her twin sister. It was not until she was eight years old when she started to explore different stringed instruments like the violin and the cello, the latter of which she found her interest in. As she grew up, she further explored different musical abilities and eventually discovered her uniquely deep singing voice. In 2014, Laufey competed and became a finalist on Iceland’s Got Talent. She also became a semifinalist on The Voice Iceland as the youngest competitor in 2015 being only 16 years old. Laufey then attended and graduated from the Icelandic music school, Menntaskóli í Tónlist, in 2018 where she studied singing. From there, she furthered her education at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts where she earned her degree and subsequently released her first single “Street by Street” in 2020. That single then got the attention of both Billie Eilish and Willow Smith, as they posted in on their stories for their millions of fans to see. This, in return, helped Laufey gain some traction within the music industry, and she started to grow a fan base after that.
Two years later, she released her first album, “Everything I Know About Love”, and her recently released second album, “Bewitched”, followed 13 months later, which according to Pop Data, broke the all-time record as the biggest debut for a jazz album in Spotify history with over 5.7 million streams. Laufey named her new album “Bewitched” because to her, love is very confusing and feels like a spell is cast on you. It serves as a natural steppingstone thematically from her first album “Everything I Know About Love” where that one is defined by her lack of knowledge about love. On her sophomore release she wanted to further dig into the roots of love and the spectrum between love and heartbreak it encompasses. Like both albums, her lyrics are often conversational, and you can feel what she is saying. Almost every song on the album is mainly written by Laufey and her main producer Spencer Stewart, except for the song “Misty.” She also had a lot of influence on the album’s instrumentals by using her multi-instrumental skills to impressively play piano, guitar, and cello on nearly every song. Also, unlike most artists, every song that she has written for this album made it onto the track list.
So, when your friend asks for any good new artists that you recommend listening to, take a chance and recommend Laufey.